Monday, September 16, 2013

Tasting the Seasons: Market Day in Provence

Fall is slowly, softly creeping in. Like the gray mist that covered the sun the weatherman had promised us for Friday and Saturday. When I shopped our neighborhood farmers market last week, I noticed apples cozying up to the peaches, a sure sign that summer is coming to an end.


One of the things I admire most about the way life is lived in France is the celebration of seasonal delights on market days. You can tell what time of year it is by what's on offer. And nowhere is this more evident than Provence. When we visited it was high summer, and I can't think of a season I would rather eat up and savor. Melons, tomatoes, peaches, and squash blossoms. What a feast!






Whether a small village like Moustiers-Sainte-Marie or a bustling city like Aix, the abundance is amazing - jam, chickens, soap, sausages, big pans of paella. And the cheese. Oh the cheese.


Sometimes it seems that almost anyone could cook like Julia Child with the advantage of a French village market on her doorstep. You can't help but be inspired to to dream up all sorts of fabulous dishes while wandering the stalls. From the bounty we took from our market visits, we created my favorite meals of the trip.




Simple, fresh, flavorful, enjoyed with friends and family. The way all the best meals should be.  Heather from Lost in Arles wrote a lovely description of how the Provençal markets shape the way she cooks- you can find it here.

Now that I'm home from our travels I'm trying to incorporate this bit of French living more regularly into my life. Even though we are blessed with plenty of farmers markets here in Seattle, they aren't as frequent or as convenient, and you certainly won't find any deals. (I can spend twice as much at a farmers market as I can at Whole Foods, easily). But the food tastes better and since it's a little harder won, I think I appreciate it more. And you can really see the seasons change wandering a market, rather than pushing around a grocery cart.

What about you? Do you make it to the markets much?

Happy Monday! XO

14 comments:

  1. Jeanne this no doubt had to be one of the bigget highlights..to me nothing is as fun as meandering through an open market then for it to be in Provence is pure heaven! Thanks for sharing..I can almost taste those figs:)

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    1. Tina, it's been a month and I can still taste those figs, they were amazing! You and I are definitely of the same mind, wandering an open market and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells is one of my favorite ways to spend a morning. Happy Monday! XOXO

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  2. I love that you are incorporating a little French-style living into your every day in Seattle. I would love to do the same. Slowing down. Savoring the freshest produce. Cooking with what's in season. I try but always love a reminder to live like today is the best day!! It's feeling like fall in Rye and I'm planning on making a lentil soup tonight. A healthy, seasonal start to the week.

    xoxo Elizabeth

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    1. Elizabeth, a warm bowl of soup is one of my favorite fall treats and lentil is so yummy and healthy. I'm sure your family will love it! Hope you have a lovely week! XO

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  3. I think that would of been one of my favorite things to do besides looking at the fantastic doors and architecture in Europe...

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  4. Everything is so fresh and tastier at these markets. I love chatting with the farmers and artisans. For ex: find out the best wine to enhance the figs, etc.
    xo
    Loi

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    1. Yes! One of the things I loved at the markets we went to in Provence is how many of the stalls had their produce selections "merchandised" right along side with wines to pair with. Loved that touch. I seem to recall we drank a crisp rosé with those figs and it was perfect!

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  5. I tried to incorporate the French way of shopping/cooking into our life after our trip last spring. Gave up after a week....my 5 year old said "Momma, I don't want anymore France dinners." Hmmm

    New show on PBS you may like....out of North Carolina. Authentic farm to table....first episode actually made me want to cook. I'm hooked

    http://achefslifeseries.com

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  6. Jennifer, your five-year-old sounds a little like my husband. He's as happier with tuna pasta than pâté. And forget the stinky French cheese! Oh well. (Although, in his defense, he was a big fan of the gazpacho I made withe the end-of-season tomatoes). PBS show sounds right up my alley, I'll have to turn in! Hope you are having a lovely week! XO

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  7. Jeanne, you are spoiling me rotten with all of these links--I hope you know that I thank you with all of my heart and hope to return the kind gesture when I can.

    And I thought of you and your gang again today. I was out running several errands through Arles and there are so many American tourists compared to the past few years! But they are nearly all doing the same thing when I see them, sadly. Studiously looking at the map and arguing about where they "have" to go next. :( You and yours got it right...
    Bisous,
    H

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  8. We wish we had more markets nearby - of the farmers' kind! When we lived in Paris, we frequent the marche every Sunday and it was a treat to see all the lovely produce and cheese displayed so artfully. Your post reminds us to go back to France, soon!
    xxoo
    C + C

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  9. i don't. we don't have much selection here outside of july. it's kinda depressing really. but i buy the best i can find and def am more european-minded. i don't often have a shopping list. i look for fresh stuff and plan my dishes accordingly.

    love seeing your provence images!

    michele

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  10. We have a wonderful market which I love to visit on Wednesday and Saturday, but this summer I have had a farm that delivers fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers and goodies to your home every week. It was always fun to see what would appear and try new recipes with some veggies I'd never even heard of. Loving these posts!!

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